What is the role of religion in the fight against corruption in Kenya? Is it true that religion supported corrupt governments or not? This blog story is ready to reveal some truth about the role religion has played in making the society corrupt. Kenya is now ranked the 3rd most corrupt nation on earth. Kenya is mainly Christian nation even if the number of Muslims is growing rapidly. The major religion in Kenya has been Christianity since the time of British Colonization in 1897. The time colonists came coincided by European zeal for missionary work and many missionaries were dispatched into Africa or the dark continent as they called it. They main objective was to win as many converts as possible to Christianity, educate the locals, build schools, Churches and civilize the Africans. What all this mission meant to the Europeans was very clear but what it really meant to the locals was ambiguous. Faith is the key word in religion – faith means to believe in the supernatural Being known as God. Christianity came with the Bible, taught Catechism to the primitives as they called them, and many locals eventually, accepted the Bible and converted to the European religion in faith. Later, when the number of the converts was growing and the number of the missionaries from Europe dropped, the whole understanding changed. Africans became Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Clergy, Religious, and Diviners. Those were all foreign terms in the local languages, cultures and belief systems. But for the religion to survive it had to befriend the authority. Missionaries sided with the colonial governments and got access to prime lands and better facilities. Religious institutions were exempted from paying taxes to the governments since both had a working agreement. Religion was to convince people that the government was all they needed on earth and that they ought to pay their taxes to support. The government allowed people the freedom of worship so to think more of God and not the corrupt political leaders and ideologies. Many missionaries died or left Africa as Europe suffered from scarce vocations.
Africans took over the leadership but their perception about religion changed. They used to seeing missionaries with money for developing Churches, Schools, Hospitals, and supporting the poor. Missionaries gave clothes, food and medicine for free to the poor in charity. Local clergy also came from those who benefited from the free or charitable gifts from Europe and assumed that religion was all about manna from heaven. God provides…not knowing that some European believers were generous and believed in fraternity with the poor world – which the missionaries presented to them. They poured in their support in charity and benevolence. Instead, the African clergy and Church leaders realized that they could not have the same trend or give in charity. They switched to commercializing the faith. The whole understanding of the poor Church or the suffering Church of God was misunderstood and the Church went commercial. To do this business without paying taxes the Church stopped guiding the political elite. This was to allow them carry on their operations without any restriction from the government. The government took advantage to perpetuate corruption since there was no any other moral authority to tell them not to.
Religion in Kenya has an upper hand in corruption. It has educated the locals how to live like European missionaries, driving cars, eating at table, and keeping bank accounts. They copied their masters. This is now a serious problem…celibacy in the Catholic Church. Since the clergy are supposed to be unmarried for life and the Church is meant to take care of their needs…they have not seen the need of celibacy. Some tend to keep secret mistresses whom they support with the Church funds. Some even sire kids with such women and feel morally obliged to support them. The ” White man” understanding of faith is no longer the same. Africans had to tell the Europeans off… now the religion is in our hands and allow us to manage it in our our way.
Corruption in the Church system is worse than the corruption in the secular society. There is no any structuralised authority to check how the Churches spend the money they collect from the believers. The Kenyan government was threatened by the Church when it attempted to come up with policies and regulations to streamline religion…The President had to order the AG to tone down on religion or else lose the votes. Happy are the poor for the Kingdom of God belongs to them… be humble and pray more for the sinners but don’t condemn them nor judge them.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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